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Austin-Healey Sprite - BUGEYE- Painted Blue Dashboard and Magnolia Gauges

So my Bugeye is not stock anymore. The most valuable Sprites of all that I own and I am going to modify this one like you would not believe... At least a compromise between as per factory spec and as restored in 1969 ralley spec.

I have paperwork on this car all the way back to 1969, when it was restored and had 1969 Austin Healey Sprite motor, gearbox and front discs installed. At the same time, they came up with a 3.7 for it, special order at that time. Also, they deseamed the car (jerks) and rebuilt the dashboard with more switches than a B29 bomber... Not to mention thats what the map light came from (or so the story goes)
Anyways, it was built as I would assume as a ralley car, but was sold to the next owner in 1970- the gentleman whom I purchased the vehicle from in 1994. BTW: The colour was (still is) 1969 Porsche Red (was that called Guards red too?).. Reason for sale in 1970 was that the previous owner who had spent a small fortune on this was not satisfied with the results. After looking the vehicle over after first purchasing it, I was not sure what class it would qualify in due to its modifications, therefore, I came to the conclusion that it would have been rallied over raced, but it only had one seatbelt!!???

Anyways, my thinking is, unless I can find a race history for this car, I am going to paint it in a dark blue (metalic- is this about to make you sick?) and rebuild it to exactly what I want. I will keep the dashboard that came with the car for a wall mount, without removing anything from it. I will be using one of the 6 other spare dashboards I have and building it in between the original dash in the location of the components and additional items that I will add in. In this way, it will look more "period", instead of total modification in this one reguard. The gauges will be replaced with modern Smiths Magnolia faced units, but in better locations. For instance, the speedometer, Tachometer, dual oil/water gauges will be in thier correct locations. The fuel gauge, clock, and volt meter will be in a late model centre council that has been totally smoothed over and painted to match the dash/body colour. The oil temp gauge (also another Smiths Magnolia gauge) will be located somewhere on the dashboard- if not where the original fuel gauge went, then somewhere.
The seats will be correct Bugeye, as I have always felt very comfortable in them since I was very young- now am 5' 11". Seatbelts will be period look alikes, but 5 point. Modern big front/rear sway bars, pan hard rod. The race rubber (modern) will be installed on the JAP (J.A. Prestwhich????) 6.5" Wheels that are extremely outset. These wheels are made of Magnizium (NOT ALUMINIUM) and have a date cast into them of 1968. These were purchased with the same car... They still have the proper DUNLOP racing tyres on them that in 1998 still held air and I actually raced on these! OK, they were sooo hard that a set of 145/80R13 aged 10 years would have had more road holding ability. :-) -and thats no joke.
Lets see- otherwise stock suspension lowered down to the restored height of 1969, master cylinder will be changed out for the proper smaller size for disc brakes, rear brakes will be changed to later style units (1963-1979 Spridget) to match the front units.
Oh, yes, at one point, probably 1969, the car had a fire extinguisher mounted. Only the bracket remains. I will have to search for a unit that looks period, even if it is not a factory endorsed unit, something that any race body would have approved of at that time.

The motor and gearbox only has about 15,000 miles on them, so I will be repainting and reinstalling. They worked better then ANY sprite I have ever driven. The driveline will be repainted in the factory green, maybe.

Anyways, I know I would get more response to the on the Midget General BBS, but this is a Sprite!

Rolls Royce owner says to Bentley purchaser:
Why are you purchasing a Bentley? Why not get a Rolls Royce?
Bentley owners response:
Because I live in the Country of course and the Rolls Royce is a city car, the Bentley is not!

Comments, complaints or guidence welcome. Nothing is set in... paint yet, and will not start until next year. Right now, just getting the A40 on the road is this years goal.
-Brian Mc Cullough.

1959 Austin Healey Sprite "Bugeye" (Frogeye), 1961 Austin Healey Sprite MKII, 1959 Austin A40 Farina, and lots of parts cars.
BMC Brian McCullough

In your various parts cars, would you happen to have a Bugeye dash you would be interested in parting with, for the right price, of course. Thanks!
Dick Bundesen

It's your car, so feel free to do what you like to it.
Mine has Jaguar cream dash with jaguar cream seats (with red piping)
The Midget genaral board is actually called "the midget and SPRITE general Board" for midgets AND Sprites

Gary L
1958 Frogeye (mostly)
Same old Gary

Hello, my name is Alfred, i'm a newbie here. I really do like your forum and really interested in things you discuss here, also would like to enter your community, hope it is possible:-)
Cya around, best regards, Alfred!

Hi Brian,

I reread your posting above and the only thing I have issue with is the width of the wheels. i feel that max you should go for and still keep good handling is 5.5 inch wheels with 165 (possible 175) wide tyres.
Do pop over to the Midget and Sprite BBS occasionally. It would be nice to see you there and hear of your progress.
Same old Gary

Its great to see some activity on this board ,although I am a regular visitor to the midget &sprite board. My current Bugeye resto project started off with the plan to keep it as original as possible,however as things have progressed and parts have become avalable,Ihave made changes along the way.The original Iris blue has given way to Old English White,I have now fitted Wire Wheels,The old 948 motor and smooth case gearbox need a full rebuild but if agood 1098 of 1275 turns up at the right price that may well change also.Keeping orginal is ok but how many sprites were not modified from new or soon after.
Noel Copping

Hi Guys and Thanks for the compliments. I post quite a bit on some of the other sections of the MG section of this board as my '80 MGB 3.4L V6 has become the current project with the Bugeye a little further back on the to do list as of the moment. Plans are still about the same but I am considering using the Metro turbo that is standing on a 1275cc display motor in the corner.

I would have to look through my dashboards but might have one to part with still.

Joining is pretty easy and the board is well worth it. Most of the people are over on the MG side of this posting in the Midget threads but we all wander over here on occation.

Since these wheels are correct for the car and I have them, thats why i plan to use them but may switch over to show use only because i dont want to break them!

I agree with you, most of these cars were modified pretty quickly. At least by the second or third owner. Keeping the body stock and modding the driveline makes a car very easy to put back to stock and makes them far easier to drive as well.

In the mean time, my Bugeye sits in the nice dry garage along with the A40, MKII and a few others... The shop is always occupied by someone else's project. Currently a XK120 modification.

BMC Brian McCullough

This thread was discussed between 12/06/2003 and 21/02/2007

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